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I have a 2006 2.5i Outback with an automatic transmission.. The previous owner is my daughter and I have verified that she never had the transmission serviced. I have been trying to figure out what to do, as the mileage is now 164,000. In going back through her records of service, I have found the following: 1) at 84,000mi., when the car was at Subaru dealer to have a dog guard installed, the receipt showed that the dealer found dirty transmission fluid that "appears to be original," 2) at 126,600 mi., when car was at a different Subaru dealer for something else, receipt had a recommendation for "BG transmission flush.) Then at 161,500 mi., I had the car at a third Subaru dealer for an airbag light problem, and they said the following: "found transmission fluid contaminated/burnt." I asked my daughter to take it to an auto repair shop for a safety inspection to see what they said, and the report came back saying nothing about the transmission fluid being a problem. By now I was frustrated and confused, since different garages said different things, so I took it to another shop for a safety inspection and they also did not mention the transmission fluid needing anything. At this point, I am starting to get obsessed with this issue. I am just learning about my car. My husband always took care of our cars and he was good at it, but he is not well so I am on my own now. But he says, fluids are important. Now the car is at 164,000 miles. I have been looking online and calling multiple auto repair shops and am now totally confused, as everybody says something different. The main difference of opinion is whether it is better to do a flush or a simple drain and fill. Other differences are, some say to drop the pan and look at it as a diagnostic tool (while others say they just remove the plug to drain); some say to change the filter while others say they don't unless it is leaking or damaged, and my son-in-law says he would replace it if he did the job himself, because he assumes it would be clogged, just like you always replace the filter with an engine oil change. One shop said if you do it yourself, be sure to get a genuine Subaru filter, while another shop said, when I asked about it, that they don't think Subaru has their own filters. I did look online and found a genuine Subaru filter that you would get from a Subaru dealer. So now I don't really trust the shop that said there is none, even though I got a strong recommendation from another Outback owner for that shop because she says they are honest. Honest maybe but I wonder if they know what they are doing. As far as flush vs. drain and fill, some shops say if the fluid is really dirty they do a flush vs. drain and fill, other shops say the opposite, that if it is really dirty a flush would be a bad thing. Yikes, how do I know what to do. I am obsessing about it this time and am paralyzed to do anything. Then, apparently there are different kinds of flush machines and one is safer than the other. I would be tempted to take it to the Subaru dealer but they charge $350 which is way more than any of the other shops that do flushes. Also, when I was in there for a repair, the sales staff were very aggressively trying to sell the people waiting for their cars to be done another Subaru. It was annoying. I feel like it might be better to go to a garage where they are not trying to sell you something. I guess I am saying I don't trust the Subaru dealer. I thought it was weird that three different Subaru dealers have said the fluid needs replacing, at 84,000, 126,000 and 161,000, and then at around 164,000, two independent repair shops did not even mention it. I talked to the manager of one of those independent shops and asked him why, and he said "the kid" probably didn't even check the fluid, assuming that the 150,000 mi. service had been done and it was not due for the next service. I had asked for an inspection and was prepared to pay for it, assuming they would check all the fluids. Unfortunately someone was not paying attention to what my car was there for and changed the oil, which didn't need to be changed. But, as part of the oil change, they supposedly check things over, but I don't think "the kid" did a very good job of checking. So now I don't really trust that place as being competent. So, to make a long, long story short: Help!!!
I just had my 2011 Outback flushed at the dealer at 155k miles. Their charge was $229. MIne has a CVT (continuously variable transmission......yours may have a traditional automatic) Get yours serviced soon, either by a dealer or by a drain and fill method. Has the timing belt ever been serviced?
 

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With my older Soobs I have it done once (usually at around 110k to 120k) the old fashioned drop the pan clean the screen and new filter method....then its good for the life....
 

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Discussion Starter #63
I just had my 2011 Outback flushed at the dealer at 155k miles. Their charge was $229. MIne has a CVT (continuously variable transmission......yours may have a traditional automatic) Get yours serviced soon, either by a dealer or by a drain and fill method. Has the timing belt ever been serviced?
Yes, the timing belt was replaced or serviced or whatever they do, when the head gaskets were replaced at 130,000. My 2006 does not have a CVT; I'd have to look back through the posts but I think someone said it is a 4EAT transmission. My son-in-law is going to do a drain and fill. I am busy rounding up the right kind of fluid, the filter, crush washers, and manuals for him. Then I will probably find a place to do another drain and fill later. I had one shop look at the fluid yesterday and he said it wasn't too bad, brown but not black, and no particles. So I think we're going to be OK. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #66
The 2005 Factory Service Manual says:

Transmission Pan Drain Plug:
New gasket and tighten to 20 Nm

Front Diff Drain plug:
New gasket and tighten to 70 Nm

Rear Diff Drain and Fill plugs:
T-type - liquid gasket Three Bond 1105 and tighten to 49 Nm
VA1-type - new aluminum gasket and tighten to 34 Nm
VA2-type - new metal gasket and tighten to 29 Nm

I think your rear diff should be a T-type, same as mine - should be easy to tell, plugs that need liquid gasket don't have a flange, while those with metal gaskets have a flange that tightens down onto the rear face of the diff.
Thanks, dyqik!
 

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Discussion Starter #67
Now that I have a plan for the transmission, the next thing I want done is the differentials. Looking in the owner's manual for what kind of gear oil, it says, "Never use different brands together." I am making the assumption that the differentials have never had the fluid changed. I know for sure not since my daughter has had the car. They got it from someone else at 69,000 mi.,and my best guess is those people didn't have the differentials serviced either, because a Subaru dealer, when I had it in (at 84,000 miles) to get a dog guard installed just before the birth of my first grandchild, made the comment that belts were cracked, and a bunch of other comments that made it sound like the previous owners had not done much if anything. If they had the differentials done, it might have been another brand. So how important is it, not to use different brands together? Not everybody knows the whole history, if they bought the car used. Should I just go with my assumption that it is the original gear oil, and to be safe, take it to a Subaru dealer for the differentials, hoping they would use the same brand gear oil that the factory used, even though they are overpriced? I got a quote from an independent garage for servicing the differentials, and they mentioned using some fluid that I'm not sure about: "BG 75W90 or 75W140 Ultra Guard Synthetic Gear Oil as applicable" for the front and "75W140 or 80W90 Gear Oil as applicable. Install limited slip additive where applicable" for the rear. I have no idea what those are and wonder about the "slip additive." Yikes, here I go again, more to learn. Have much appreciated everyone who has helped me with what to do about the transmission. Can you guys (and/or gals) help with the differential info?
 

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Use any good quality synthetic gear oil ( 75-90 weight), and don't worry about "mixing" since once you drain it, there will be only a thin film of oil left on the parts inside.

Valvoline, Amsoil, Mobile, Castrol, etc. (all commonly found at auto parts stores) all make very good synthetic lubes. The numbers (75/90, etc) will be printed on the bottle label.

Best to warm up the differential by driving the car a couple miles before doing the draining, and make sure that the car is level side-to-side, or slightly leaning to the drivers side to left the oil drain faster. Let it sit for a while before reinstalling the plug, then add slightly less than the required amount ( through the dip stick tube, so you will need a long funnel that will fit into the tube), then top up once the car is back on the ground and level so that you get a correct reading on the dip stick.
 

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Discussion Starter #69
Use any good quality synthetic gear oil ( 75-90 weight), and don't worry about "mixing" since once you drain it, there will be only a thin film of oil left on the parts inside.

Valvoline, Amsoil, Mobile, Castrol, etc. (all commonly found at auto parts stores) all make very good synthetic lubes. The numbers (75/90, etc) will be printed on the bottle label.

Best to warm up the differential by driving the car a couple miles before doing the draining, and make sure that the car is level side-to-side, or slightly leaning to the drivers side to left the oil drain faster. Let it sit for a while before reinstalling the plug, then add slightly less than the required amount ( through the dip stick tube, so you will need a long funnel that will fit into the tube), then top up once the car is back on the ground an level so that you get a correct reading on the dip stick.
OK thanks. Since I will be taking it somewhere, what about this one place that mentions "slip additive?" Is that OK or is it something to avoid? OK, I decided I'd better google this and seems that there are two kinds of differentials, limited slip and other. Don't know which one I have but hopefully the shop will figure it out and not put the wrong kind in. If they put in that additive and my differential is not that type, will it harm it?
 

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I doubt highly that your car needs a limited slip additive, but someone more familiar with your particular car ( is it a Limited?) can chime in on this.
 

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It will be badged somewhere, most likely on the back hatch. The 2.5 engined models then were the 2.5!, the Limited, and the XT , as far as I know, and if someone can chime in to correct me, please do!
 

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Discussion Starter #73
It will be badged somewhere, most likely on the back hatch. The 2.5 engined models then were the 2.5!, the Limited, and the XT , as far as I know, and if someone can chime in to correct me, please do!
On the hatch, it just says "Subaru" on one side and "Outback" on the other, no other letters
 

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You wont need any additives. Subarus LSDs are sealed units not involved with the gear oil, easiest way to put it anyway. At least on outbacks and legacy's of this generation.
 

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You just need 75/90 oil in the front and rear diff, no additives required. Don’t let the workshops get you all confused. A simple drain and fill us all you need. A maximum of one hour labour should get the job done as this is one of the simplest procedures on a Subaru and probabky easier that an engine oil change.

From memory each diff holds just less than a quart of oil.

Seagrass
 

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Discussion Starter #78
You wont need any additives. Subarus LSDs are sealed units not involved with the gear oil, easiest way to put it anyway. At least on outbacks and legacy's of this generation.
You just need 75/90 oil in the front and rear diff, no additives required. Don’t let the workshops get you all confused. A simple drain and fill us all you need. A maximum of one hour labour should get the job done as this is one of the simplest procedures on a Subaru and probabky easier that an engine oil change.

From memory each diff holds just less than a quart of oil.

Seagrass
My car is a 2.5i, so does that mean it is not a Limited?
 

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Discussion Starter #79
You just need 75/90 oil in the front and rear diff, no additives required. Don’t let the workshops get you all confused. A simple drain and fill us all you need. A maximum of one hour labour should get the job done as this is one of the simplest procedures on a Subaru and probabky easier that an engine oil change.

From memory each diff holds just less than a quart of oil.

Seagrass
Thanks seagrass and switchpnw
 

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Your son may need to buy a couple special Torx wrenches to remove the diff drain plugs, so make sure that he does it on a day that the local auto parts stores are open!

Oh yes - any synthetic 75-90 gear oil will do for the diffs.
Front differential fluid easier to refilll thru the differential check fluid plug, Be carefull on what plugs are removed. A quick lube place pulled the wrong plug when chanding engine oil and drained a customers CVT and then overfilled he engine. I heard boh engine and CVT had to be replaced.
 
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